By Paul A. Smith
The eyes of the waterfowl world will be on Stevens Point on Sept. 15 and 16 as UW-Stevens Point hosts the 2017 Federal Duck Stamp Art Competition and other activities, including the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association Decoy Carving Contest.
Formally known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, the Federal Duck Stamp is a required purchase for waterfowl hunters age 16 and older.
Since it was first issued in 1934, funds raised through sales of the stamp have helped to protect 6.5 million acres of wetlands in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
As the longest-running, single-themed U.S. postal stamp, it is valued as a collector's item. Many birders and other outdoors enthusiasts also buy the stamps as a way to support wildlife conservation.
The contest moves around the country to generate interest in wetlands and waterfowl, and it allows more people to see the exceptional wildlife artwork. Among places it has been held are Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia, Utah, California, Tennessee, Florida and, most recently, in Pennsylvania.
The 2017 contest will be the first time the duck stamp competition has been held in Wisconsin.
Also see: Decoy carving will share limelight on waterfowl's big stage